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Online Poker Bill Passes New York Senate but Will the Assembly Follow?

Written By: Maya Michaels | January 25, 2018 | Posted In Poker News

Online Poker Bill in the state of New York has made it through the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and now moves to the State Finance Committee.

The bill was passed easily by a 10-1 vote but we’ll have to wait and see what will happen next. This is the third consecutive year that the US state of New York is trying to change the gambling legislature and regulate online gambling but they simply hadn’t had any luck so far.

Last year the Bill also passed the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and also the Finance Committee. The Bill even passed a vote of full Senate in the middle of the 2017 but then nothing happened. The Bill never came through the vote at the Assembly. They just didn’t have the time since the New York Assembly only has a handful of scheduled working days on its legislative calendar. We can only hope that this year, they bill will have more time and luck.

The bill is standard and will allow the New York State Gaming Commission to award up to 11 online poker licenses and to enter interstate agreements with other regulated states. A proposed tax rate is standing at 15% of grossed gaming revenue and the up-front licensing fee is a hefty $10 million. Not only would New York issue licenses to operators of video lottery gaming but the ones from the states with “similar licensing requirements” would be able to apply for online poker license.

A special “bad actor” clause was added last year just before the bill came to the full Senate. This clause relates to operators that were illegally active in the US after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The “bad actor” clause forces regulators to weigh the acts from the bill related to illegal online gambling when they’re considering licensing suitability. This is not the strictest variety of the clause and it also doesn’t say that such an operator would be automatically deemed ineligible to receive an online license.

Most casino operators withdrew from the US market after the UIGEA passed so we’ll have to wait and see what will happen with those who stayed including the online poker giant PokerStars.

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